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Monday, May 9, 2022

Book Review: Blessed: Experiencing the Promise of the Book of Revelation by Nancy Guthrie

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BOOK review
Started on: 10 April 2022
Finished on: 30 April 2022
 
 
Title: Blessed: Experiencing the Promise of the Book of Revelation
Author: Nancy Guthrie
Publisher: Crossway Books
Pages: 256 pages
Year of Publication: 2022
Price: Rp 231,198 (https://www.bookdepository.com/)

Rating: 4/5
*This e-book was received as a review copy from Crossway
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"If our goal in studying Revelation is to nail down what every image portrays, what every symbol stands for, what every detail means, we're likely going to be frustrated. Our goal, instead, should be to listen for and take to heart what is really clear." 
Over 12 chapters, Nancy Guthrie goes through the book of Revelation, exploring its call to patient endurance as God's sovereign plans for judgement and salvation are worked out in the world. In this book, the author shows how Revelation is less about when Jesus will return and more about who we are to be, what we are to do, and what we can expect to endure as we wait for Jesus to return to establish his new kingdom in the new creation. Nancy Guthrie aims to take the fear, intimidation, and confusion away from studying Revelation, and provides a great resource for individuals or small groups to study this important yet often avoided book.
"Sometimes the meaning of Revelation's symbols is plain or is even stated explicitly... And sometimes it's more challenging to grasp with confidence what is being communicated."
"Revelation was not written to create confusion, conflict, or fear in those who read it. Rather, it was written so that ordinary believers who hear it and embrace what is written in it will not only be able to understand it; they'll be blessed by it—blessed in a countercultural way that the world simply cannot understand and does not value."
I am always eager to learn more about the book of Revelation; I even joined a Christian eschatology class at church a few years ago because I want to understand things better. That's why when I discovered this book published by Crossway, I was immediately intrigued and decided to read it immediately. I have to admit that during my early days as a Christian, the book of Revelation sounds very intimidating for me personally with all the strange creatures and events that are difficult to fathom. That's why I love how Nancy Guthrie acknowledged some of the reasons why we avoid Revelation and explained why we should study the last book in the Bible. After reading this book, I can now see the book of Revelation with a new perspective—focusing on what I can do practically in the present while wait with patient endurance for the promise that is written in this book.
"Revelation presents a past, present, ongoing, and future reality that servants of Jesus living in between his ascension and return need to see."
"Revelation is actually less about when Jesus will return and more about what we are to do, who we are to be, and what we can expect to endure as we wait for Jesus to return to establish his kingdom."
There are 12 chapters in this book; each one goes through the book of Revelation several verses at a time, diving deep into its meaning to try and understand it better. I think Nancy Guthrie has successfully take away the intimidation or fear factor of this particular book in the Bible. I especially love how each chapter provides the answer to a very practical and penetrating question: "What will it mean for us to 'hear and keep' these verses? What will it look like for us to live in light of what has been revealed?". These questions definitely help readers to immediately put into practice what has been learned through this book which can bring transformation in our lives instead of just being an information.

One of my favorite chapters in this book is the one titled Blessed by Being Known by Jesus, that covers Revelation 2-3. In this chapter, the author illustrates Revelation 2-3 like a report card for each of the sever churches in Asia. As I read through this particular chapter, all of the letters to the seven churches serves as a personal reflection for me. Nancy Guthrie also emphasized that these letters are written not only to those seven churches in the first century, but the entire passage is also a letter for us in the present day. For example, the letter to the church of Ephesus invites us to ask ourselves: "Has there been a time in our lives when our love for Christ and his gospel and his people was greater than it is now? And if so, am I willing to do the things I did when that love was new, not out of duty or legalism but out of desire to rekindle our love for Jesus?" Some of these questions can be tough to answer; but the author encourages us to be honest with God and with ourselves about our spiritual condition and continue working on it.
"We begin our study of this book thinking that our biggest challenge is going to be understanding it. And it isn't. The biggest challenge is opening ourselves up to the adjustments in our lives that this book calls for. Yet this biggest challenge is also what promises the greatest blessing."
"To hear and keep these verses is to rest in God's sovereign control over the past, the present, and the future in such a way that we aren't constantly feeding on regret over the past, frustrations in the present, and fears about the future."
Instead of focusing on the timeline or signs of the End Times, this book encouraged us to respond to the call to correction, repentance, and perseverance that will prepare us as we await for the coming of Christ's kingdom in all of its fullness. As the author said towards the end of this book, this study of Revelation is so much more than just nailing down how to interpret it—the goal is to live it, keep it, and obey it. This book also reminds us to allow our lives to be changed by the message in Revelation and let the coming of Jesus shape our priorities and the way we use our time in this world. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned a lot from Nancy Guthrie's writing even though there were times when it was difficult to read because there's so much information to be absorbed. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to study more about Revelation and I certainly want to read more books written by Nancy Guthrie in the future 😊.
"The future of this world is not determined by fate or chance. History is the unfolding of God's predetermined plan for all things."
"Revelation wasn't written to entertain, or to set out a timeline for the future, or to satisfy our curiosity about when Christ will return. Revelation was written to fortify Christians to live in the world, enduring its harsh treatment and alienation, with a firm confidence that this world is not all there is, and that, in fact, what may seem like defeat is going to give way to victory."
by.stefaniesugia♥ .
 

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